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Published on Apr 11, 2014
Researchers at NC State have developed hydrogel structures that walk through a tank of water in response to electric fields. The ability to actuate hydrogels is important for biomimetics and soft robotics.
The gels are soft and have mechanical properties similar to Jello and are therefore similar to animals such as jelly fish, squid, and octopi as well as human flesh. The walkers consist of two pieces of gel bound together. Each leg of the walker responds differently to the electric field, which allows the gels to move similar to an inchworm.
The paper, "Electro-actuated hydrogel walkers with dual responsive legs" is authored by Daniel Morales, Etienne Palleau, Michael Dickey and Orlin Velev and published in Soft Matter.
The work was supported by the National Science Foundation Triangle MRSEC program.